College Green to be turned into pedestrian plaza free of all traffic
Radical proposals to ban traffic from College Green and transform it into a pedestrian plaza have been welcomed as a return to "Georgian Dublin".
New plans for the area will see a large stretch from Trinity College to Church Lane closed off to all traffic.
Buses and the Luas will instead travel past Trinity to lower Grafton Street. Taxis will also be allowed to use the public transport corridor for a trial period.
The plans were welcomed by councillors sitting on the south-east area committee of Dublin City Council (DCC), who were the first to see the new proposals.
"I think we are going back to what was there in Georgian Dublin, and I think it's to be welcomed," Fine Gael councillor Kieran Binchy said.
Green Party councillor Claire Byrne said that the new vision, would lend a "European feel" to the city.
In addition to the pedestrianised plaza the plans also include proposals for a two-way segregated cycle lane.
A wide pedestrian crossing is also planned at the gates of Trinity College.
Suffolk Street and Foster Place will also be pedestrianised if the proposals get the go ahead.
Brendan O'Brien, a DCC official, said that talks were ongoing with Dublin Bus about options for re-routing buses in that section of the city.
Bus corridors will now, largely, have to travel north to south due to the proposed changes.
"We're engaged in discussions with Dublin Bus at the moment and we'll look at each route in turn and see what the issues are and what can be done to accommodate them," Mr O'Brien said.
It is expected that those routes which can be re-routed will be. A turning area on Dame Street may also be introduced.
The new plans, described by one official as a "once-in-a lifetime chance to do something in this area", will be put out for pubic consultation in March.
No changes are due to take place until early 2017, in line with the Luas cross-city works.
Planners were forced back to the drawing board in December ,when initial plans for an overhaul of the area were rejected.
Councillors had raised concerns over cycling facilities.
Plans to relocate the statues in place at College Green under the previous designs also proved controversial - but under the new plans they will stay in place.
It is not yet known what the public plaza will look like as designers are not due to be appointed until later this year.
The meeting heard that the proposal still had problems that needed to be addressed, but that it was best option of some 15 plans examined for the area.
Fine Gael councillor Paddy McCartan said that the plans signalled "the death of the private car in College Green", which was to be welcomed.
Queries were raised about whether Bank of Ireland would agree to remove its railings as shown in the visualisation.